Wimborne Athletic Club

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Hampshire League Race 1  – 11 October Farley Mount 

WAC’s first ever Hampshire League cross-country race saw 21 of us turnout in fantastic conditions.  In cross-country we are usually sorting out our thermals and some dry kit, but no such worries here – pass the sun cream! 

We are one of three new clubs to the league this season, the other two being Salisbury and Portsmouth University. Each of the new clubs, naturally, join in the league’s lowest division (for the seniors - Div 2 for the women and Div 3 for the men). Promotion can be gained by finishing in the top two.

The event took place in a beautiful setting and it was a joy to be out there. The quality of the front end of the field in this league is impressive and it was great to see so many runners in the races (almost 280 for the senior men alone). The organization of the event on the day was impressive and the results have already been posted up on the league’s website www.athletics.hampshire.org.uk. This race was billed as the league’s most challenging course of the season, and although there was a couple of tough-ish climbs (one in particular) it should mean that the other races will hold no fear for us.

Although it was WAC’s Hampshire League debut we also had a number of WACers racing in their first XC league race ever in a red shirt. Welcome to Trudi Carter, Paul Hine, Georgie Hougham, Gerry Hutchings, Sharon Hutchings, Sam Lucas and Colin Read. It’s great to have so much commitment and enthusiasm from our new blood.

The increasing number of WACers brought us tantalising close to fielding full teams in a number of the junior categories – with a bit more of a push we can manage this in future races.

First race of the day was the girls under-13s. Old hand Alex was the first WACer in, with debutant Sharon only 20-30 seconds behind. Sam made his debut in the boys U13 race and he headed in Adam by a similar margin. The pattern was repeated again in the under-15s with Jack and Callum. With this rivalry between team mates we can work together to improve our performances throughout the season. Maddy had to do it all on her own in the under-17 women’s race however, and she managed her usual spirited performance. All of our juniors ran intelligent races and made steady progress through the field as the races progressed. Well done.

In the Senior Ladies’ race the girls finished tightly packed, with a great run from Nicki Roe being just enough to head the surging Trudi Carter home. Georgie Hougham and Claire Newby were there in close support too. The girls currently lie in 18th position in a league of 28 teams.

It was brilliant to see so many red shirts line up for the senior men’s race (10 in all). London-based WACer Colin Read was the first red shirt over the line on his WAC XC debut. He clocked in at 34:09, an impressive time for 9km of undulating cross-country running. Next home was the rapidly improving ‘bionic’ Graeme Furley who has made dramatic progress recently. One good aspect of having so many runners  in this race was that it was hard to predict who would be the ones that would score team points (which go to our first 3 finishers). On the day it was Richard Atkins who was third in. It is the sign of a decent team when Graham Whiffen and Daryl Davies are pushing to gain point scoring positions, hopefully this competition within the team will push us all on. After one race we lie in third place in the league (12 teams). Dare we dream of promotion in our first year. It’s too early to say, but we do have more firepower available to us, so let’s get organized and see what we can do. Three of the Division Three’s top four clubs are the league’s debutants at the moment – so it will be tough, but in Division 2 we would be able to test ourselves against some of our local rivals – Bournemouth AC, Hamworthy Harriers, Poole AC and Poole Runners. There is also a Veteran’s League (where we start in Division 2), with so much experience in our team we lie absolutely mid-table in 10th position there. Richard was our first ‘vet’ home and the other scoring ‘vets’ positions going to Ian Kennedy and Phil Burgess in what for many of us is likely to be a closely fought season-long challenge. Steve Snook struggled a little with a knee problem and recent recruits Gerry Hutchings and Paul Hine enjoyed the challenge of their race debuts.

It wasn’t all about the runners though. Thanks very much to our support crew, drivers, tent erectors, and those who shouted encouragement all day long, generally contributing to the excellent team spirit on the day. Thanks to those who saw that all our racers were warmed up and prepared for their races, and generally in the right place at the right time throughout the day. With so many of us travelling up together we were operating as a tight unit. 

All in all a very encouraging start to the new season and a great day. The WAC results were:

Under-13 Girls

19 – Alexandra Vaughan-Johncey – 9:31

31 – Sharon Hutchings – 9:54

Under-13 Boys

44 – Sam Lucas – 12:05

59 – Adam Collins – 12:37

Under-15 Boys

46 – Jack Snook – 15:59

51 – Callum Kennedy – 16:38

Under-17 Women

23 – Maddy Vaughan-Johncey – 18:24

Senior Women

107 – Nicki Roe – 30:10

108 – Trudi Carter – 30:16

120 – Georgie Hougham – 32:28

125 – Claire Newby – 33:51

Senior Men

  63 – Colin Read – 34:08

  87 – Graeme Furley – 35:18

135 – Richard Atkins – 37:17

152 – Graham Whiffen – 38:17

187 – Daryl Davies – 39:52

213 – Ian Kennedy – 41:36

219 – Phil Burgess – 42:27

240 – Steve Snook – 44:37

245 – Gerry Hutchings – 45:29

255 – Paul Hine – 46:47


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